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Red herrings and high voltage

May 2010

Success! After a frustrating few days, an awkward-to-find software fault has been pinned down and remedied. If you're a techie you'll know the deal with fixing errant interrupt service routines - the very act of debugging alters the relative timing and ordering of things, yielding annoying red herrings or sometimes masking the problem altogether.

Meanwhile, being a barefoot engineer has its practical advantages: I'm not perpetually charged with static electricity. Which is just as well given the sea of sensitive electronics all over my desk...

Last Updated on Friday, 07 May 2010 15:05

Green fingers (and toes)

April 2010

Image of decorative metalwork birds

My back "garden" has been a neglected mess for too long. But this April weather is lovely, and hurrah, I've at last made a start on my horticultural adventure.

I've only got a small plot, but enough space to get growing my own food and have a small greenhouse, plus a place to sit and dine on the fruits of my labour. I can always turn to the excellent Downsizer for grow-bags of advice, and I can't wait for my kitchen garden to produce delicious things to eat across the seasons.

Plenty of groundwork graft to do before then - but I'm enjoying the process. And it's amazing how solutions to workday technical conundrums can spring to mind when washing up or pruning the privet.

Photo: Decorative metalwork birds, as seen at RHS Tatton in 2008. Pics of my handiwork in due course...

Last Updated on Friday, 07 May 2010 15:04

New IT infrastructure installed for the Feast

January 2010

Barefoot Software and Llandudno-based DG Security Consultancy have teamed up to deliver a brand new IT infrastructure for the Gwledd Conwy Feast office.

With Daniel installing the wiring for mains, phone and network, and me the new desktops and server machine, the new infrastructure puts the Feast on an excellent footing for planning and executing this year's event.

For more information on DG Security Consultancy's security and surveillance services, contact Daniel Gillis on 0800 292 2035.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 12:44

Barefoot in the snow

January 2010

Going barefoot in the recent snow unsurprisingly produced a few extra odd looks than usual.

Not something I could sustain for prolonged periods or indeed would want to, but for short bursts I actually found it rather invigorating. I wouldn't swim in icy waters on New Year's Day myself, but I do have an understanding as to why those that do speak enthusiastically of the experience.

Meanwhile, not everyone was fazed. I was chatting to a lady in Sainsbury's who asked if I felt the cold, and her husband piped up that he'd streaked in the Antarctic. Man after my own heart.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 May 2010 15:04

Photo-shoot at Ness Gardens

December 2009

Image from IllumiNESS event
Image from IllumiNESS event
Image from IllumiNESS event

The Wirral's Ness Botanic Gardens held their inaugural IllumiNESS event this month - a spectacular display of the gardens illuminated after dark.

I was up there a couple of days before the public opening at the invitation of Glow Lighting, the event's Somerset-based lighting contractors. Glow Lighting were looking for a collection of images to use on their forthcoming website and in other marketing materials.

The crew had been plagued by bad weather in the days prior, but on my visit the weather was clear and dry. And with an early evening temperature of 5C or so, shoeless snapping was comfortably doable.

To find out more about Glow Lighting's event, theatrical and corporate lighting services, contact Paul Arvidson on 07775 772550, or visit the Glow Lighting website.

Photos: three of the selection shot for Glow Lighting and reproduced here with their approval.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 October 2010 18:01

A great weekend at the Feast!

October 2009
Image of Conwy Feast from Conwy Castle

I had a great time at this year's event.

Gwledd Conwy Feast is the prestigious annual food and drink festival held in the North Wales walled town of Conwy. I've been involved since the early days with the Feast's printed and online publishing, and this year was a wonderful change not to be 'on duty' during the event itself and have the time to enjoy everything the weekend had to offer.

Aside from my professional connections with the Feast as an organisation, the Feast as a weekend fits nicely with my keenness for produce sourced locally and made responsibly. With over 100 stallholders, talks, demonstrations and fringe entertainment to boot it's a real autumn treat.

Meanwhile wearing a Barefoot Software hoodie (thanks Penny!) and actually being barefoot was proving quite effective for making useful contacts. With folk striking up conversation with me, I made several connections that wouldn't have happened had I been wearing shoes...

Photo: Feast venues on Conwy Quay, as seen from a castle turret.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 12:44

Barefoot Software awarded software contract by Setsquare Ltd.

September 2009

Long-time colleague and fellow engineer Andy Lydon and myself paid a visit to Setsquare Ltd earlier this month, the Tonbridge-based manufacturer of automated lighting control systems.

Setsquare are to produce a major extension to their product range, and after a very successful meeting I'm pleased to report that Barefoot Software has been awarded the contract to produce the firmware and PC software for the new products.

Most of my recent business has been conducted over the phone, via Skype or in email, and attending a real meeting in person was to be a fresh test of how making a business identity out of a personal preference - going barefoot - would be greeted. The Setsquare team were unfazed, and we're now looking forward to a successful and long-lived working relationship.

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Last Updated on Friday, 07 May 2010 15:03

The cobbler's children are shod at last

September 2009

Image of Anglesey campsite

If being nicely busy with plenty of projects for other people has one downside, it must be one's own projects forever being on the back burner.

So it was overdue then when I finally got together with printmaker/painter Ann Lewis to discuss how my new website should look. On a rainy Sunday morning on a campsite on Anglesey, we sipped plentiful hot tea and thrashed out a plan.

Photo: view from the campsite towards Snowdonia and the Llŷn Peninsula.

About this website

All content and photos by me - Andrew Howard - and copyright © Barefoot Software. The lovely visuals were designed by Ann.

Various bits of free software are used to 'power' this site. The core framework is provided by the Joomla! content management system. The website backup software is JoomlaPack, and mod_placehere is used for the front page mini-blog.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 May 2010 15:02
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